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Incidence and Aetiology of Asthma in Australia: chemistry of suspected initiators - Essay Example

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Introduction Asthma is considered to be the most common respiratory disease in Australia. According to Gall et al, asthma can be defined as " a chronic inflammatory condition of the airways which presents as episodes of wheezing, breathlessness and chest tightness, due to widespread narrowing of the airways"…
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Incidence and Aetiology of Asthma in Australia: chemistry of suspected initiators
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Download file to see previous pages Firstly, it is particularly common, affecting about 10.2% of the population. It also requires a significant amount of lifestyle changes for the sufferer, including carrying around medication (usually in the form of inhalers) and avoiding triggers. Additionally, it is considered a chronic disease (Gall, Krysiak, Prescott, Australian Institute of, & Welfare, 2010), which is generally with the sufferer for life and therefore is a significant burden for the sufferer. The symptoms and severity of asthma do vary between individuals, although it generally involves wheezing, shortness of breath and chest tightness (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). The incidence of asthma fluctuates between different time periods. However, Australia does have a high number of asthma patients compared with other nations, and therefore it can be considered to be an important disease in Australian healthcare. Between 2004 and 2005, the prevalence of asthma in the population was around 10.2% , noticed to be one of the highest ratio among the other respiratory illnesses (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). Asthma also appears to be generally on the rise in Australia, rising from 7.8% between 1989 and 1990. Asthma is most prevalent in the under 25 age group, which is also when asthma is usually diagnosed. The prevalence of asthma in under 15s is 12% , which suggests that it is primarily disease which affects the young, as asthma can sometimes resolve itself when the individual enters adulthood (Gall et al., 2010). Indigenous Australians also seem to suffer more from asthma (with a prevalence of 16.5%) than non-indigenous Australians (10.2%), which may be due to a number of factors which will be examined in further detail below. Finally, asthma is more common in females (11.5%) than in males (9%), which is interesting when considering the aetiology of asthma and should be taken into consideration when researching asthma in Australia. There are a number of contributing factors to the aetiology of asthma, many of which can contribute to the severity and prevalence of the disease (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). One of the major contributors to asthma susceptibility is genetic, as there is a strong family history link which should be considered with diagnosis (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). There are a number of genes that are implicated in the development of asthma (as well as other linked disorders such as hayfever and eczema), including GSTM1, IL10 and CTLA-4 (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). Most of the genes that are linked to asthma play a role in allergic response and inflammation, which provides some of the main symptoms of asthma based around chronic inflammation of the airways (Gall et al., 2010). This inflammation leads to a difficulty in breathing and chest tightness (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012). However, despite the fact that there is commonly a genetic link, this does not explain why incidence of asthma is generally on the rise (Environmental Protection Agency, 2012) and there are a number of environmental factors which may aggravate or cause the condition in a number of individuals. Tobacco smoke is one of the most important environmental factors for asthma (Gall et al., 2010) . Firstly, maternal smoking during pregnancy has been linked to the child developing asthma after birth (Gilliland et al., 2006), which suggests t ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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